Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Cass County is hosting a program for local farm women to learn the details of farm financial management and ways to determine a farm’s financial stability, starting January 27th, in Atlantic.
“Moving Beyond the Basics: Farm Record Keeping” is a four-week program that addresses practical farm financial management in an interactive setting. Focusing on financial management skills such as farm recordkeeping, financial statements, and analysis tools, the program is modeled after Annie’s Project for Farm and Ranch Women, empowering farm women to be better business partners through networking and by managing and organizing critical information.
Annie’s Project gives farm women the opportunity to learn from female agricultural professionals and network with other women in similar situations. Moving Beyond the Basics provides women who participate the opportunity to evaluate record keeping systems and experience accounting software in a hands-on, open discussion format. Knowing the resources available for analyzing financial position also helps participants better plan for periods of low prices and farm income fluctuation.
Moving Beyond the Basics will be offered at the Cass County Extension office in Atlantic on Mondays from 6-9 p.m. starting January 27th. The program will run for four consecutive weeks. Registration fee is $50 for all four sessions, including all course materials and a light dinner before each session. Course size is limited, so interested participants are encouraged to register before the January 24th deadline to ensure a spot in the class. Registration is required through the Cass County ISU Extension office by calling 712-243-1132 or by filling out a registration form, found online at www.extension.iastate.edu/cass.
For local farm women who would like to a broader overview of farm financial and risk management, Adair County Extension will be hosting the original Annie’s Project in Greenfield, starting on February 6th, 2014. This six-week course is designed especially for farm women to help them develop their management and decision-making skills for their farms. Sessions include brief presentations, discussions focused on the participants’ questions, and computer training to use spreadsheets. Topics include understanding market terminology, interpreting financial statements, and estate planning tools. For more information, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/adair or call (641)743-8412.
These programs have been developed through a grant from the North Central Risk Management Education Center and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
The head of the National Pork Producers Council is defending the use of gestation crates for pregnant pigs as a growing number of retailers ask for pork from facilities where hogs are raised in group settings rather than the two-foot stalls. Neil Dierks, the council’s C-E-O, says farmers should have the freedom to choose. “There is no one perfect system according to research that was done by the American (Veterinary Medical) Association and the American Association of Swine Practitioners,” he says.”
Each system has inherent advantages and disadvantages, but — again — it comes back to the care and the management of the animals given by the producer.” About 60 major food retailers, including McDonald’s, Costco and Safeway, have announced they’ll no longer buy pork that comes from facilities where the two-foot stalls were used to limit the movement of sows. Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, announced Tuesday it’s more than halfway through converting the facilities it owns to group housing for pregnant sows and the company will be less likely to renew contracts with independent farmers who continue to use gestation stalls.
Critics like the Human Society of the United States argue the small stalls are inhumane, as pregnant sows cannot turn around in the gestation stalls. Supporters say the stalls keep the sows from fighting with other pigs and allow for precise feeding of each sow. Producers say the stalls also keep the sows from stepping on or killing the baby pigs.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A city official says Sioux City can expect up to $11 million in damage when the insect killer of ash trees reaches the northwest Iowa city. The Sioux City Journal says parks maintenance field supervisor Kelly Bach told the City Council on Monday that it’s just a matter of time before the emerald ash borer beetle is found in Sioux City. Bach says ash trees account for nearly a third of Sioux City’s trees.
State officials said last month that an emerald ash borer had been found in a residential tree in Creston. It’s the fifth location in Iowa where the beetle has been found. The Creston sighting was the first in western Iowa.
Something farmers often called “trash” could be a new cash crop in 2014 as ethanol plants near Nevada and in Emmetsburg that use the leaves, stalks and cobs of the corn plant will begin operations this year. It’s called cellulosic ethanol production and creates a potential market for the corn residue –or stover. Iowa State University agronomy professor Rick Cruse says stover plays an important role in nurturing soil health and preventing erosion on fields that might otherwise be bare from harvest until planting. He’s confident the companies understand that and make sure enough is left to keep the soil healthy.
“There is a pressure to take more when you have an opportunity to make more money by taking more. And that’s a short-term return,” according to Cruse. Cruse says as farmers consider whether they want to market stover, they should determine which fields can most readily withstand some stover removal. He says cellulosic production could eventually expand to accept other raw materials. “If a technology is used, which we could covert not only stover but other grasses, we might find a market to put things like switchgrass in areas where we should not have corn and beans,” Cruse says.
Cruse says that would give farmers a cash return on land they’ve taken out of production. He says he sees a window of opportunity if producers and industry are willing to look beyond corn stover. Iowa State Extension will hold a series of meetings this month to answer farmers’ question about stover.
The Lewis and Clark State Park in Onawa tops the list of Iowa’s most popular State Parks for camping. The Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources released a list of the top 12 State Parks for overnight camping, on Tuesday.
Viking Lake State Park near Stanton placed second in the survey. Lake Anita State Park came in 7th and Lake Manawa was 10th. The number of guests camping in Iowa’s State Parks went from 718,539 in 2013. The figures show 709,595 camped out in 2012.
Top 12 State Parks for Camping Nights in 2013
1. Lewis and Clark State Park
2. Viking Lake State Park
3. Rock Creek State Park
4. Lake Ahquabi State Park
5. Clear Lake State Park
6. Brushy Creek State Recreation Area
7. Lake Anita State Park
8. Ledges State Park
9. Backbone State Park
10. Lake Manawa
11. Marble Beach State Recreation Area
12. Lake Macbride
Cass County Naturalist Lora Kanning reports there is a change of venue for Saturday’s “Soiree with the Swans,” in Atlantic, due to the extremely cold weather. Instead of being held at the Schildberg Quarry Recreational Area, Kanning’s 10-minute presentations regarding the Trumpeter Swans will be held at the Atlantic Public Library, from 11:30 a.m-to 1:00 p.m. ,with a light lunch available.
Hot chocolate, cookies, Sandwiches, and other snacks will be provided free of charge with donations being accepted (for swan care).The event is being sponsored by the Cass County Conservation Board, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and the Atlantic Public Library.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach along with Iowa Department of Natural Resources, will host an informational meeting concerning the presence of emerald ash borer (EAB), an exotic, destructive insect of ash trees. EAB now has been positively identified in five Iowa locations, most recently in Creston.
Mark Shour, Iowa State University Extension & Outreach Entomologist, says “These meetings are designed to provide helpful, usable information to prepare for one of the most destructive insects to hit the urban forest in decades.”
The meeting will be held from 6-to 7:30-pm January 9th, at the Supertel Inn & Conference Center (800 Laurel Street), in Creston. It is designed for those in the green industry, homeowners and others interested in the topic. There is no charge to attend, and pre-registration is not required. For more information call ISU Extension and Outreach – Union County at 641-782-8426.
Officials with the Atlantic FFA Chapter reported Thursday, that the organization sold a little more than $22,300 worth of fruit, meat, cheese, picked herring and other products during their annual fundraiser, which ran from late October through early November. All the proceeds go toward supporting the local FFA Chapter by helping members attend the National and State Conventions, and in the purchase for FFA Jackets for any member that wants one.
40 FFA members sold an average of $558 in products, with the top fruit salesperson being Haley Carlson. She earned $2,018. Calley Klindt sold $1,405…Adam Freund, $1,081…Kristin Johnk $1,014, and Tyler Christensen sold $962 worth of products. Atlantic FFA President Wyatt Saeughling said in a press release that he was “Glad to see we accomplished our goal of more than $20,000.” He said he hopes the underclassmen continue to sell more fruit, so “The Chapter will be able to provide funding for upcoming FFA activities.”
Atlantic FFA Advisor Eric Miller said the Chapter members exceeded his goal and gives the group a “Great start” for next year. If you did not have an FFA member contact you and you would like to be added to list for next year, contact an Atlantic FFA member or FFA Advisor Eric Miller, at the Atlantic High School.
You can follow the group on Twitter, at www.twitter.com/AtlanticFFA.
Officials with ISU Extension say the West Central Iowa Beef Cattle Forum will be held Wednesday, Jan. 22nd, at the American Legion in the Carroll County town of Arcadia. Chris Clark, beef program specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, said the conference agenda will include a several timely topics and will include information for feedlot, stocker, and cow/calf producers.
Aaron Saeugling, ISU Extension and Outreach Agronomist will provide information on the use of cover crops as alternative forage sources and will focus on practical tips and expectations for cover crop use in west central Iowa. Jan Shearer from the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine will speak about cow/calf and feedlot lameness issues and Grant Dewell from the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine will give a presentation about the veterinary feed directive and judicious use of antibiotics.
Ken Hessenius, Iowa DNR Supervisor Field Office #3 will present on the Iowa DNR/EPA work plan and how that may impact cattle producers over the next few years. Shane Ellis, ISU Extension and Outreach Farm Management Specialist do a beef market update/outlook presentation. Matt Deppe, ICA CEO and Justine Stevenson, ICA Director of Government Relations will also be present to provide updates on Iowa Cattlemen’s Association activities.
The program at the American Legion in Arcadia begins at 9:00 a.m. with registration at 8:30 a.m. Lunch will be provided and will be served at approximately 12:15 p.m. There is no cost for this event, but registrations are necessary to properly plan for meals. Persons interested in attending should make their reservations no later than Jan. 17th, by calling either the ICA office at 515-296-2266, or the Iowa State University Armstrong Research Farm in Lewis, 712-769-2600. For more information about the event please contact Merle Witt at the ICA office or Chris Clark at the ISU Armstrong Research Farm.